Are you fogging kidding me? Let’s create a cleaner, chemically free Barbados together.

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We love Barbados too much to fog it up!

Slow Food Barbados is calling on the Ministry of Health and Wellness and The Ministry of Environment and Natural Beautification to stop using harmful fogging practices in Barbados. We are calling for a ban on fogging immediately, before it is too late.

While the World Health Organisation recommends fogging to tackle an epidemic or emergencies, excessive fogging is polluting Barbados, affecting our health and negatively impacting the environment. 

There are a number of reasons why we should ban fogging in Barbados:

  1. Fogging is ineffective - Fogging is only moderately effective in the control of the mosquito population. For each adult mosquito killed, many more larvae in the water remain unaffected. Fogging kills the adults and that gives temporary relief for the day. But the breeding source nearby is not affected, and the next day there will be more adults that can continue to breed and infect us. Reducing the number of larvae is a more effective measure, which means that oiling achieves better results than fogging. 0.1% of sprayed pesticides actually hit the target pest - 99.9 % go off into the environment (Pimentel, D. PhD., BioScience) The pesticides are actually negatively affecting our bird and bee population more than the mosquito population.
  2. Fogging is toxic to our health - the pesticides used in vector control are neurotoxins and have been linked to adverse effects in humans.   Ingredients used in mosquito fogging - malathion mixed with diesel - are powerful neurotoxins, carcinogenic and endocrine disruptors. Exposure to neurotoxins, even in low quantities, is also associated with numbness of the lips and tongue, nausea, headaches and respiratory problems. For these reasons, many countries have banned open-air fogging completely.
    Pregnant women, fetuses, infants, and children have a greater risk of getting sick from pesticides. Our children and grandchildren are exposed to these pesticides that are sprayed weekly just by playing on our lawns. Airborne pesticides are particularly harmful as they may be easily ingested by humans and wildlife. Pesticide residue can also be left behind on items kept outdoors, such as children’s toys and outdoor furniture, or tracked inside on shoes. Children, the elderly, and the chronically ill are at greatest risk from chemically induced immune-suppression. (World Resources Institute) 

Children have a greater risk of developing asthma by age five after pesticide exposure within the first year of life.
  3. Fogging is also toxic to other insects and animals, such as butterflies and bees - these beautiful insects are particularly sensitive to pesticides. Malathion is highly toxic to bees and other beneficial insects, some fish, and other aquatic life. When bee populations are greatly affected by pesticides, global food production could be affected because of the lack of pollination. Pesticides are also harmful to many other animals, including those that are natural predators of mosquitoes. Most pesticides used in fogging are toxic to fish, which are very important for the eradication of mosquito larvae. Frogs, geckos and birds, which also eat mosquitoes, could also be affected by pesticides.

We would like to suggest the following alternatives to fogging:

  1. Responsible housekeeping and maintenance - Remove all sources of stagnant or standing water if possible. The eradication of breeding grounds in personal and commercial spaces are much more effective tools in the fight against dengue and Zika than widespread fogging is.
  2. Relocating the budget to spending the money to destroy and control breeding zones, rather than on fogging. Safe alternatives exist such as garlic and cedar sprays which can last for a month. This should also decrease the current expense that the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment currently accrue. 
  3. Replacing pesticides with natural mosquito repellents such as garlic, peppermint or lemon oils or citrus-based sprays. Turpentine and eucalyptus oils, garlic extracts, surface oils, extracts of orange and lemon peel will all control mosquito larvae. Cinnamon Oil is better for repelling mosquitoes than DEET. 
  4. Increasing community effort - The responsibility for eliminating breeding grounds in one’s own home and garden, while reporting possible breeding sites in public spaces to the relevant authorities, lies with everybody. We all need to play our part to keep the mosquito breeding grounds at bay.
  5. Increasing and protecting the number of mosquito predators, such as dragonflies and bats, which are both highly effective ways of controlling mosquitoes naturally.  The spraying of pesticides kills those natural predators as well as mosquitoes, and because mosquitoes have a shorter reproductive cycle than their predators, following every spraying there are more mosquitoes than there were before, as a number of studies have shown. If you need to control mosquitoes, do not spray; instead, remove standing water (in which mosquitoes breed) and consider introducing dragonflies to the area. Did you know:
  • A single bat can eat between 6000 to 8000 insects each night
  • A single frog can eat over 100 insects in one night.
  • Dragonflies can eat 30 to 100s mosquitoes per day.

We at Slow Food Barbados are strongly advocating for the use of an effective and non-toxic method for reducing the risk of mosquito borne illnesses in Barbados. Until a safer solution is researched and implemented, we are requesting that further fogging be put on hold.

Slow Food Barbados is a not-for- profit organization. We are a community of like-minded individuals, farmers, chefs, restaurateurs, food producers, educators and foodies that have joined together to help build a stronger food system in Barbados. This in turn enhances food security for our island, supports communities, and cares for the environment in which we live. Slow Food Barbados supports good, clean and fair food:

  • GOOD a fresh and flavoursome seasonal diet that satisfies the senses and is part of our local culture;
  • CLEAN food production and consumption that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health;
  • FAIR accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for small-scale producers.

For further reading and details on the harmful effects of fogging, please read: